The waitress poured us another cup of coffee. Not seeing the bottom of our cups for a couple of hours would earn her a nice tip. Measly crumbs from breakfast lingered on empty plates as we each revealed our own tidbits of angst. Realizing we’d both had similar frustrating weeks, my friend sighed, “I started to come see you last week.”
“So, why didn’t you?
“I don’t know. I started to.”
“You can come see me anytime. If you’re willing to take me as I am, I am willing to be found!”
As my own words echoed back through my mind later, I realized just how far God has brought me. I used to think I’d be judged as a poor housekeeper, an unconcerned mother, or plain ol’ lazy if someone dropped in and found scattered toys, dishes in the sink, or an unswept floor. It didn’t matter that I had a job, coached a team, ran two kids all over the world, spent time with my husband, taught Sunday school, and tried to stay connected to friends. Everyone else seemed to handle all those things gracefully, all the while maintaining a house fit for a Southern Living photo spread. So, why couldn’t I find that same energy and graciousness?
Thankfully, I now realize that many of the people I knew back then merely appeared to have it all together. In reality, their world was just as messy as mine. Today, I welcome unannounced friends, even when they find the house in disarray and me a sweaty mess. (They may not get a hug if I’ve gone too long between showers, but they’ll always get a smile.)
I am happy to say that I have friends who take me as I am. That kind of love gives me an in-the-flesh picture of Jesus. Remember Romans 5:8? “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” What better way to communicate God’s love than to accept everyone we meet just as we find them? We don’t have to agree with their lifestyles or beliefs; we simply meet them where they are and connect before we correct. We don’t have to have a glistening spiritual resume. In fact, the more weakness we confess, the more common ground we’ll find. In finding common ground we will no longer intimidate others, we’ll imitate Jesus. The more we’re able to die to ourselves and accept others as they are, the more intrigued our topsy-turvy world will become. Finding common ground keeps us from seeing differences as threats. I don’t know about you, but when I feel threatened I bristle up like a porcupine, and porcupines don’t look like Jesus.
Paul worked hard to find this common ground. He explained to the Corinthians, “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23, NLT)
One of my greatest blessings was having my heart finally feel what my head has always known: God loves me no matter what, Jesus paid for ALL my sins, and the Holy Spirit leads me to the BEST places! I am indeed free to be who God meant for me to be – joyful, content, and living with a purpose. You can too! Hear Jesus whispering to your heart, “You can come see me anytime. If you’re willing to take me as I am, I am willing to be found!”